Me and My Shadow

The famous Swiss Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, MD, wrote about and developed the idea of the Shadow. The Shadow is that part of us that we repress, avoid and deny. As men, it's easy to hide real authentic feelings: pain, sadness, depression, anger, anxiety, shame, and even panic can be tucked away until they come out "sideways" or erupt in violence of many sorts--physically or verbally.

While Carl Jung,MD developed the concept the concept of the Shadow, Robert Moore, Ph.D. and Douglas Gillette, Ph.D. came up with the King, Warrior, Magician and Lover Archetypes. These Archetypes are common in all societies and especially affect men in our modern, industrialized countries.These Archetypes which are stereotypes of character in our society and civilization such as John Wayne or Clint Eastwood; they represent a type casting, if you will, of a how a man ought to be, especially in the 40's and 50's.

Obviously, these Archetypes are changing today. However, the "dark side" or Shadow of these Archetypes are problematic. A Shadow King would a ruthless dictator like Stalin or Hitler. A Shadow Lover would be a man who seduces and exploits women sexually and emotionally. A Shadow Warrior would be a killer like a Hit-man or someone who does drive-by shootings for sadistic reasons. Finally, a Shadow Magician would be helping professional who takes advantage or his clients or professions for financial or sexual gain.

In the Men's therapy work that I do (both individual and group), I address the shadow issues. We look deeply into what's behind the shadow or causative in living an inauthentic life. We not only root out the origins of what created the shadow but look for ways to transform the shadow into a positive, life affirming behavior that gets the man back into integrity with himself, his family, friends and society at large.

A wonderful book that I recommend is: King, Warrior, Magician and Lover by Robert Moore, Ph.D and Douglas Gillette, Ph.D. They explain Carl Jung's Archetypes in very descriptive ways ; also elaborate on the positive and negative aspects of the Shadow. Of course, any of Dr. Jung's books on the Shadow are excellent reads as well.

©2010, Michael Shaffran

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Mike Shaffran is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist with over 30 years experience in the mental health profession. He's worked most of his time in outpatient Psychiatric clinics where he has provided individual, couples/marital, family and group therapy. He is trained in multiple therapies, including: Psycho-dynamic, Gestalt,Structural-Strategic Family, Solution focused, Brief Therapy, and other methods. He is trained in EMDR ( a type of therapy for PTSD), hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery also. Mike is committed to ongoing seminars, workshops and trainings to keep current with the latest therapy to provide the best services possible to his clients. www.sanluisobispotherapy.com or E-Mail

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